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Lightbulb Napa CA dining
Old 03-16-2009, 09:34 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Napa CA dining

Plan on heading out to Napa this summer. Any restaurants you would recommend? Right now we got a few in mind.
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Old 03-17-2009, 11:34 PM   #2
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You would do a great service to jumpstart the economy if you are going to visit the French Laundry Restaurant, as we previously discussed. And please tell us about your experience if you go.
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:17 AM   #3
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You would do a great service to jumpstart the economy if you are going to visit the French Laundry Restaurant, as we previously discussed. And please tell us about your experience if you go.
Ruled that one out. Don't quite want to spend that much We will be paying for another couple. Bouchon and Redd's looks good.
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:16 AM   #4
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Bistro Jeanty is excellent, better french food and better service than Bouchon IMHO.
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Old 03-21-2009, 01:10 PM   #5
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Plan on heading out to Napa this summer. Any restaurants you would recommend? Right now we got a few in mind.
Hey, NML, are you stopping at the Geysers? The old lady there, Olga, is a hoot. She predicts earthquakes, you know. If she's still there, I believe she will sell you a coke.

Old Faithful Geyser of California
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Old 03-21-2009, 01:38 PM   #6
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Hey, NML, are you stopping at the Geysers? The old lady there, Olga, is a hoot. She predicts earthquakes, you know. If she's still there, I believe she will sell you a coke.

Old Faithful Geyser of California
Hey CJ thanks for pointing that out! Looks like something fun to stop and see.
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Old 03-21-2009, 02:52 PM   #7
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I liked Mustard's Grill, went there for my first anniversary - lucnh (it's cheaper) - breakfast at the Sonoma Inn and Spa is nice, too - Dutch pancakes filled with fresh fruit - Napa has a museum called Copia with a restaurant called Julia's that is supposed to be good as well. We loved the Domaine Chandon resaturant - one bad thing about Napa is there are few wineries left that don't charge for tasting - for that I like to go to the Sierra foothill region - they don't charge to taste.

French Laundry is actually in Healdsburg or near there - that's a bit of a drive from Napa area.

Have a great time...
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Old 03-21-2009, 03:05 PM   #8
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There are lots of great restaurants around Napa, you won't have any problem finding something you thoroughly enjoy. However, if I was in Napa, I would make the trip to Chez Panisse in Berkeley. It is my favorite restaurant in the world - and I've had the good fortune to eat at The French Laundry and many truly big name restaurants. FWIW...
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:03 AM   #9
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... and I've had the good fortune to eat at The French Laundry and many truly big name restaurants. FWIW...
Pray tell, was it up to your expectations? I kept thinking I might try an expensive place like the French Laundry sometime, but the frugal in me has always prevailed.

The last time we went to Seattle, I wanted to check out the Herb Farm. It would have been the most costly dinner we have ever had by far, and it was still less expensive than the French Laundry as it included wine for about the same price. I even made an advance reservation but then canceled it. The main reason was that the 9-course dinner supposedly last 5 hours, way past my bedtime. Had the Dow stayed at 14,000, then I might be able to overcome my frugal self to book a room right at the Herbfarm Suites to be able to stagger to bed after dinner instead of having to drive back to my hotel at midnight. That would have brought the price of the dinner for two to $1K, enough to pay for several pedestrian meals.

We ended up having decent and much less costly dinners at more conventional places. Well, maybe on my next visit to Seattle or Napa, I will splurge. The Dow may even recover some by then.

Or maybe I won't.
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Old 03-24-2009, 06:05 AM   #10
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If you're a "foodie" like DW and I, I think everyone should eat at one of the world's best restaurants - but once is enough for an LBYMer. TFL was about $600 with wine, tip and everything for a party of two. Clearly that's crazy, but that's what it costs to experience the work of one of the world's greatest, most influential chefs - worth it to me, once. You will see ingredients, preparation, service beyond your imagination if you know food. Don't think of it as dinner, it's a bucket list item for foodies. Cheers...
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:32 PM   #11
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If you're a "foodie" like DW and I, I think everyone should eat at one of the world's best restaurants - but once is enough for an LBYMer. TFL was about $600 with wine, tip and everything for a party of two. Clearly that's crazy, but that's what it costs to experience the work of one of the world's greatest, most influential chefs - worth it to me, once. You will see ingredients, preparation, service beyond your imagination if you know food. Don't think of it as dinner, it's a bucket list item for foodies. Cheers...
If you have eaten at Victoria and Alberts how would you compare the two Midpack?

I only live about 2 hrs away. Might be a nice weekend thing to do. Earn me some brownie points with the missus.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:09 PM   #12
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French Laundry is actually in Healdsburg or near there - that's a bit of a drive from Napa area.

Have a great time...
The French Laundry is in Yountville, about 15 minutes north of Napa. Healdsburg (where I live) is about an hour's drive from Napa. FYI, there are also several very good restaurants in Healdsburg.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:59 PM   #13
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Oh, boy. I live about 30 minutes from Napa.

The French Laundry in Yountville (just north of Napa) is a good place for a 'once in a lifetime' experience. Figure $250/person + wine, and 3-4 hours of tasting small portions of lots and lots of dishes. Make reservations way in advance.

The owner, Thomas Keller, also operates Bouchon, a seafood bistro just down the street. This is much easier to get into. There's also Bouchon Bakery for breads, Napoleons, and coffees. There are a number of other good places in Yountville.

The restaurant at Domaine Chandon, also in Yountville, can be a very nice dining experience. This has a more traditional French-influenced menu, moderately pricey.

Rutherford Grill is really nice, too. The menu is more of an upscale 'American comfort food'. It's currently run by Hillstone Restaurant Group, who also own Houston's, Gulfstream, and Hillstone Manhattan, among others.

Other fun things for dining include Taylor's Automatic 'Fresher, a pricy but good burger joint on the south side of St. Helena, or stopping at V Sattui (also just south of St. Helena) with an empty picnic hamper and stocking up in their deli. On a warm day, grab a bottle of their Gamay Rouge to go with the deli goodies. The Oakville Grocery just north of Yountville is another good picnic supply stop.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:21 PM   #14
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If you have eaten at Victoria and Alberts how would you compare the two Midpack?

I only live about 2 hrs away. Might be a nice weekend thing to do. Earn me some brownie points with the missus.
I'm from the Chicago area, sorry never been to Victoria & Alberts (Disney?). I used to live between Tampa & Orlando in the early 90's and there was nothing remotely comparable to TFL when I lived in the area, but maybe that's changed.
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Old 11-29-2009, 07:57 PM   #15
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Just wondering if anyone has anything to add to this thread as we are going to Napa next weekend and am looking for dining suggestions. Not sure we would be willing to part with the bucks required by French Laundry so any further suggestions at a lower cost would be appreciated.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:07 AM   #16
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Just wondering if anyone has anything to add to this thread as we are going to Napa next weekend and am looking for dining suggestions. Not sure we would be willing to part with the bucks required by French Laundry so any further suggestions at a lower cost would be appreciated.
If you want a Keller experience and are not up for TFL, the best option would be Ad Hoc. A more casual place, but superbly prepared food. Think of it as "comfort food, Keller style". (It actually evolved from the "family meals" the staff would make at TFL.) They also have a new cookbook out, "Ad Hoc at Home". Fixed menu changes nightly.

Another good Yountville option is Redd, which has received 1 michelin star for the past couple of years. Or, new in Yountville is Bottega, Michael Chiarellos italian restaurant. After a mixed start seems to be getting consistently good reviews. Also nearby is "Brix", nice Sunday brunch, beautiful gardens, and allegedly the site of the Top Chef finale, airing this week and next.

Finally, as mentioned before, we have always enjoyed Bistro Jeanty. Although they recently lost their Michelin star, it is still very much a local favorite.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:09 PM   #17
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Also nearby is "Brix", nice Sunday brunch, beautiful gardens, and allegedly the site of the Top Chef finale, airing this week and next.
The Sunday Brunch at Brix is back? Oh boy. I'm there...

http://www.brix.com/pdf/menu-brunch-sept09.pdf
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:08 PM   #18
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Oh my! So many recommendations, one would need to stay more than a weekend. I will try to remember this thread next time we get there, hopefully in an RV :-)
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